Registration Of Social Workers In Everyone’s Best Interest
The registration of social workers will enhance the profession and help to protect New Zealanders from poor social work
practice that can have devastating consequences, says the Minister of Social Services Steve Maharey.
Mr Maharey has introduced the Social Workers Registration Bill to Parliament which provides a framework for the
registration of social workers and puts in place a number of measures designed to protect the safety and well being of
all New Zealanders from poor social work practice.
Mr Maharey said the bill fulfilled a Labour party manifesto commitment to establish a system of professional
registration for public and private sector social workers.
"Social worker registration is a key step in building public confidence in the profession. The new legislation is a
result of comprehensive consultation with the social and health sectors.
"Under the Bill, registration will be based on a person’s competence and fitness to practice social work. To become
registered, social workers will require an educational qualification and practice experience followed by an assessment
of competence. They will be made accountable through the establishment of a complaints and disciplinary process.
"A Social Workers Registration Board will be set up to administer the new system and will determine professional
standards for social workers. In particular it will be responsible for:
- registering social workers by assessing their competence;
- establishing and maintaining a code of conduct for registered social workers;
- setting minimum requirements for educational qualifications for registered social workers;
- promoting the benefits of registration to Government departments, other crown agencies, others who employ social
workers as well as the public and social workers themselves; and,
- promoting high standards of practice and professional conduct among registered social workers and the employers of
"The Bill also establishes a Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal to administer the complaints process and exercise
disciplinary powers over registered social workers.
"While the Bill will not prevent people from practising social work, uncertified practitioners will not be able to call
themselves a “Registered Social Worker’.
"It is anticipated that some social workers will be immediately eligible for registration, while others will have to
work towards this goal. The Bill allows for provisional registration, which will be limited to five years per social
“The bill will go a long way to ensuring that social workers are competent, accountable and practising safely while
protecting New Zealanders from the consequences of poor social work,” concluded Mr Maharey.